Tuesday, February 13, 2018

(To be) specific asset BDBNs **

Matthew Burgess - (To be) specific asset BDBNs

As highlighted in previous posts, there are a myriad of issues that should be taken into account before a binding death benefit nomination (BDBN) will be held to be valid (see for example - http://blog.viewlegal.com.au/2012/02/superannuation-and-binding-death.html, http://blog.viewlegal.com.au/2014/03/death-benefit-nominations-read-deed.html, http://blog.viewlegal.com.au/2014/03/double-entrenching-binding-nominations.html).

One issue that can arise is whether a BDBN can apply to specific assets, as opposed to simply nominating a percentage of total assets, which is the standard approach for most nominations.

The generally accepted position seems to be that given there is nothing in the superannuation legislation that prevents distributing specific assets under a BDBN, so long as the trust deed for the fund does not prohibit it, the approach is permissible.

If a specific asset BDBN is desired, it will also be necessary to ensure practical issues such as the following are addressed –

  1. the relevant asset must be segregated to the account of the member making the BDBN;
  2. compliance with all aspects of the BDBN rules under the trust deed;
  3. the various issues that should be factored into any BDBN, including changes in the values of assets, the wider estate plan, what is to occur if the intended recipient predeceases the person making the BDBN and the revenue consequences; and
  4. finally, the scenario where the asset the subject of the specific asset BDBN is sold prior to the member’s death should also be contemplated.

** For trainspotters, ‘To be specific’ is a line lifted from the song ‘Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’ from Mary Poppins, see here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxyB29bDbBA

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